American tourist and driver kidnapped in Uganda rescued unharmed

An American who was kidnapped along with her driver in Uganda last week has been recovered unharmed, a spokesman for the Ugandan government said Sunday. The pair were recovered along the border with the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Kimberly Endicott, 56, and tour driver Jean-Paul Mirgene Remezo were taken hostage at gunpoint while on safari in Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park last Tuesday. Their four kidnappers had demanded a $500,000 ransom and had not backed down from the demand as of Friday, authorities told CBS News last week. The abductors had been using Endicott’s phone to negotiate her release and were in contact with authorities nearly everyday, officials said.

The Uganda Police Force said the pair were rescued during a joint operation and are in “good health.” A spokesman for the Ugandan government said Ugandan security forces were involved in the operation. The two were brought back to the lodge where she had been staying, while the kidnappers managed to escape.

Kimberly Endicott with a Ugandan commando shortly after she and her driver were rescued on April 7, 2019. Obtained by CBS News

The kidnapping spurred a massive search effort along the edge of the park, which borders the DRC. The park is one of 10 national parks in Uganda, where tourism remains a major driver of the economy. Hundreds of thousands of visitors travel to the parks each year.

Endicott, an esthetician, runs a skin care clinic in Costa Mesa, California.

Sarah Carter contributed reporting from Uganda.

Categories: US & World News

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